Bicycle Bars

 

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This Recipe comes to you from my mother, Sally Hobbs, cookbook.  As a child my mother made these delicious bars which were gobbled up with breakneck speed.  This is a very quick and tasty energy bar to make, made with simple ingredients.  This tasty treat has wonderful texture and a bonus – healthy to eat!

Bicycle Bars

1 package (6 oz.) of semi sweet chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons of smooth or chunky peanut butter (add more if you would like)

3/4 cup of wheat germ

3/4 cup quick or old-fashioned oats (uncooked)

1/2  cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped dates

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In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt together chocolate pieces and peanut butter.

Stir in wheat germ, oats, coconut and dates, mixing well.

Shape quickly with buttered hands into 8 bars, each about 3″ long. Wrap each bar in plastic and refrigerate until firm.

Makes 8 bars.

Bicycle.bar.closeupI took these bars on a recent hike with a friend and they were a big hit!

Let me know what you think of this bicycle bar recipe when you make them!

Happy, healthy eating! – Beth

 

Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky


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I have been experimenting making beef jerky for the past couple of years. It started when I discovered an awesome “spicy sweet” beef jerky made by Oberto. The flavors and texture really hit the spot but to sustain this new addiction would be pricey.  So, I came up with my own recipe. It’s chewy texture and mouth watering sweet and salty flavors, with a hit of “heat”, becomes the perfect snack to take backpacking or hiking!

Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky

1 lb of sliced flank steak (or a very lean cut of meat)

1 cup of Mr. Yoshidas Sauce

1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger

3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)

2 Tablespoons of lime juice

2 Tablespoons of  Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce


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Cut flank steak 1/8-1/4 of an inch. Place all ingredients (except the meat) in a plastic bag.  Mix well.  Place meat into the bag and incorporate the ingredients into all layers of the meat. Place in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Occasionally turn and mix the ingredients in the bag over the next three days for an even marinade.

Take meat out of the bag and place it on to your dehydrator racks. I use a Nesco Dehydrator and Jerky Maker. It works great! Set the temperature to 160º.  Space slices of meat so they are not touching. This will help with a more even cooking time.


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Cook beef jerky at 160º for approximately 3-7 hours. This time frame can vary greatly due to how well your dehydrator retains its heat, thickness of your meat as well as desired texture.

When your beef jerky is finished, let it cool before packaging. Take the beef jerky off the trays and store in an air tight container or plastic bag.

Your beef jerky will store up to 1-2 months in a cool dry place like a cupboard, longer if you refrigerate or freeze your it. If you are at my house it does not last a day!

Enjoy and happy hiking!

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Helpful Hints:

Freeze steak partially (not solid) prior to cutting your meat.  This will make it easier to slice the meat and cut more even slices.

Cut steak across the grain of the meat for a less chewy texture.

Get you beef prepped at a butcher shop. I purchase my beef jerky meat from the wonderful Springfield Butcher’s.  I can order the flank steak ahead of time and my butcher will cut it and have it ready for pick up at an agreed time.  My butcher tells me any lean cut of beef will work for beef jerky but he finds that most customers always come back to flank steak as their preference.

Trim off any extra fat on your beef.  You want to have the leanest cut of meat as you can.  Fat will inhibit the length of storage time of your meat as fat can go rancid. So keep it lean.

You can find Mr. Yoshida brand products at Costco, Wallmart, Sams Club, or Amazon.

It is important to cook your meat at a minimum of 160º, the temperature in which bacteria is destroyed, keeping your beef safe and enjoyable to eat!


Groovin’ Granola

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When I think of granola it reminds of the natural, whole food Hippie craze that erupted during the 1960’s.

Actually, granola was first created as a health food breakfast cereal by a Dr. John Henry Kellogg, for his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. It was thought that through healthy eating it would lead to wellness and healing.  Dr. Kellogg was on to something big in the late 1800’s.

Kellogg never successfully marketed granola as a cereal but later went on to create corn flakes.  It was not until 1972 that the Pet Milk company developed the first commercial granola called Heartland.  Other companies soon followed.

But why buy granola when you can make your own, exactly the way you like it.  Pair it with Geekin’ Greek Yogurt and you got yourself a winner of a snack!!!

Groovin’ Granola Recipe

4 cups Whole Grain – Old Fashion Oats

1/2 cup Honey or Agave

1/3 cup Vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1/2  cup each, coarsely chopped – Almonds, Cashews, Pecans

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

Exercise your creativity:

Be creative and add and subtract what sounds inspiring to you.  Here are a few ingredients to get you thinking: Walnuts, peanuts, sun flower seeds, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), pistachios,  hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts and shelled sunflower seeds.

Add in after your Granola has cooled:

Chocolate chips, coconut chips, Peanut butter chips, Blue berries, raisins, dried banana chips, dried strawberries, dried apples, dried mango, dried pineapple or dried pear.

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In a bowl add your oats, nuts and salt and toss together.

In a pan mix over a medium heat your honey, brown sugar, oil and cinnamon until warm and the sugar has dissolved and ingredients are incorporated.

Stir in vanilla to the sugar mixture.

Add sugar mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet.

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Pop your cookie sheet of uncooked granola in an oven at 300° for 20-25 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes. Granola should turn a golden brown and be very crunchy, not chewy when baked completely.

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Let cool, then add your berries or other ingredients that could be effected by the heat.

Take your granola along on a hike in a small container or baggy.  Bring it out when you are hiking and eat it by itself or add it to yogurt. Enjoy!

Look out for next weeks edition.  I will be sharing how to make beef jerky!

Beth.Kaidy.happytrails

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt

Going on a hike

Going on a hike

Spring is around the corner and all I can think about is getting outside. Hiking is at the top of my list. When hiking I like to take great food along with me.  The next few weeks I will take you on an adventure of creative snacks to make and enjoy while you are playing in the great outdoors.

I need to be perfectly honest, I have never really enjoyed yogurt very much.  I have found store bought versions too tart for my taste.  It wasn’t until my mother made yogurt from scratch that I realized I could control the tartness and texture to my liking. As I experimented, with this very simple recipe, I found that I had created a creamy smooth treat that rivaled ice cream. And this just about stopped me in my tracks!

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt Recipe

1/2 Gallon 2% milk (or whole, soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk)

2 T.  Plain yogurt (starter)

Add Ins (optional)

2 T. Honey

sprinkle of cinnamon

1/2 t. Vanilla

Tools you will need:

Colander

Cheese cloth or a thin dish towel

Kitchen thermometer

Pot

Spoon

2 Bowls

1) Pour milk in a large pot and simmer until just before boiling. The temperature should reach around 185°. At this point the milk will start to form little bubbles on the top of your milk. If you do not have a thermometer to work with, this is a great indicator that now is the time to take your pot off the stove.

2) Pour your milk into a clean glass bowl.  Let it sit out until it cools between 90°-110°. If you do not have a thermometer use a clean finger to guestimate. The temperature should feel very comfortable to touch. You should not feel coolness or any stinging from the heat. It should feel warm.

Cooling your milk can be done in several ways.  You can leave your milk on the counter to cool or you can place your bowl of milk in a water or ice bath to reach the desired temperature. Stir occasionally to even out the temperature of the cooling milk.

3) After your milk has cooled, add 2 tablespoons of yogurt (your starter culture) to the warm milk.  Cover with plastic wrap. Keep the temperature of the mixture as close to 100° as possible.  This can be achieved in different ways by putting your bowl of milk in an oven on “proof setting”, on a low setting of a heating pad, a warm water bath or in the oven with the light on.  The light will generate heat. At this point leave your mixture and let it go until the milk forms into a custard like mass (curd) surrounded by yellowish water (whey). This could take anywhere from 7-12 hours.  Be patient. Depending on the environment and temperature you are keeping your milk heated to, will depend on the length of time it will take to curdle.  The longer the mixture stays out the more tart the yogurt will taste.

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“Curds and Whey”

4) Put your cheese cloth or thin dish towel (if you don’t have either use a clean, one layer of a t-shirt) in a colander.  Place the colander over a bowl to catch draining liquid called whey.   Pour the curdled milk mixture in the cloth lined colander. Let it drain in the refrigerator.

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I needed to lift my colander so it did not sit in the pool of water as it drained.  To prevent this I placed my colander on a smaller second bowl to lift it up out of the draining water.

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Place your bowl in the fridge until it drains to the desirable consistency.  If your mixture drains too much it may come out looking like a soft cheese.  Either use it for cheese (add some herbs and spices) or add whey (the drained liquid) back into you yogurt to give you the desired consistency you are looking for.

I enjoy adding honey, vanilla and cinnamon to even out the minor tang that was created in the yogurt making process.  Be creative and add anything and everything you enjoy in your yogurt.

It keeps for 1-2 weeks.

Geekin Greek Yogurt

The Science behind the recipe:

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt, as you can see, is a very easy recipe with only two ingredients. To make yogurt is more about understanding the science behind it.  The milk is heated to 185° for two reasons.  One is to re-pasterize the milk, killing off any unwanted bacteria from growing in your yogurt as it sits out for 7-12 hours. It also denatures the proteins in the milk, disrupting their original state. By creating this disruption, the protein are better able to join together into a mass (to curdle).

By keeping your milk close to 100° as possible your are creating an environment to grow the microorganism called probiotic. This is introduced into our milk by way of 2T of yogurt. The Yogurt contains live cultures that grow in our mixture by way of fermentation, which is the bulk growth of the microorganism. I like to equate this process to that of making bread. In bread the starter used is yeast.

Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are basically the same thing.  The only difference is Greek yogurt contains less liquid, creating a thicker texture.

The left over whey is a “good” byproduct of making yogurt.  It contains a lot of nutrients and can be used for many things. If you are like me, I find it hard to throw a good thing away. Here are a few creative uses for using your whey; making Ricotta Cheese, watering plants (dilute with water first), add to your compost or substitute in recipes that call for water.

The Zen of Raspberry Picking

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Picking raspberries with friends at Butlers Orchard http://www.butlersorchard.com in Maryland was one of the most relaxing and peaceful days I had enjoyed in a while. The weather could not have been more perfect with a slight breeze and temperatures in the 70’s.  Raspberries became secondary to the overall experience of the day.

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Each of us grabbed our containers and set off on a row of our own. Tranquility settled in around me as I searched for the masses of red berries among the brambles.

Picking raspberries is a slower process than picking strawberries or blueberries. Gleaning raspberries bit by bit takes time due to the obstacle of the brambles. As I plant my feet in the earth about a foot apart, I squat bringing myself closer to the fruit. I find this position less straining on my back and knees. I thoughtfully work my way through the thorny bushes looking for the ripened fruit. I find success. I begin to realize that the field was fresh and had not been seen by others that day based on the amount of berries available for the taking.

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Truth be told I am not a huge fan of berries or raspberries for that matter. I don’t care to eat them fresh but will enjoy them in baked goods, cooking and jams. However, I do find great satisfaction in the harvest. Maybe it is being outside and listening to the quiet breeze as it carries the sounds of the chirping birds around me. Perhaps it is the act of searching for food that is ready for the picking. Perchance it is the mere act of feeling grateful for the moment that I am experiencing. All the same, however I got there and where ever it takes me, this day I found zen in the harvest.

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Dutch Oven Raspberry Scones

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2 cups of flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large egg

1/2 heaping cup of frozen raspberries

Glaze:

1cup of powder sugar

1 tablespoon of orange juice

Mix together powder sugar and orange juice and set aside.

In a bowl add flour, sugar, soda, salt and powder and mix together.  Grate the cold butter using the large holes of a box crater. Dip the butter into the flour while grating to keep the butter from clumping together. (see top picture above).

Mix together egg and sour cream.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Add berries. Fold ingredients until it clumps together.  Place dough into the dutch oven and press dough out until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into wedges. Put lid on Dutch oven.

Heat coals in a charcoal chimney.  When coals are ready place You 16 coals on the top and 10 coals on the bottom. Cook for about 22 minutes. If you are cooking in the oven bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.

Pour glaze on warm scones and enjoy.

The Macho Taco Burrito!

20130822-164341.jpgI really enjoy cooking.  However, cooking in “the outdoors” is even more fun and challenging  by using different tools and techniques resulting in the most delicious mouth watering culinary creations.  I hope to cover many techniques overtime but today I would like to share a simple and fun recipe that is quick and easy to prepare. It’s called the Macho Taco Burrito or the “MTB” for short.

What I like about the “MTB” is that everyone makes their own feast. Also, it is an easy clean up when your meal is over. Each camper creates a masterful meal to their liking by combining the ingredients that appeal to them.  The “MTB” starts off with a  very large tortilla wrap placed on a sheet of foil. On the tortilla place any or all of the following ingredients:

The Macho Taco Burrito

  • Large, soft tortilla
  • 1 lb. Seasoned pre-cooked Taco Beef
  • Tomatoes diced
  • Corn
  • Avacados
  • Salsa
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped red onion
  • Black Beans
  • Re-fried beans
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Red peppers
  • Foil
  • Sour cream and salsa for garnish

Wrap your Macho Taco Burrito tightly remembering to fold in the sides as you roll resulting in a completely closed burrito. Continue by wrapping your burrito snuggly in your piece of foil.  Since the meat is already cooked, all you really need to do is warm your “MTB”.  I recommend that you put your “MTB’s” on hot coals so it can slowly heat up all the way through.  Do not put them directly on the fire otherwise you will end up with a charred mess on the outside and cold food on the inside. When you are done you will end up with a warm Macho Taco Burrito, cheese melting with a slight crunch to your outer shell. Serve your “MTB” with a dab of sour cream or more salsa.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Helpful Hint: Prep as much food as possible before you leave for camp. Using plastic containers or plastic bags to contain your food will help with your organizing your meal. I recommend waiting to cut the avocado till right before you use it, however, if you chose to dice it up ahead of time place the avocado pit into the container with the avocado to prevent browning

An added bonus: The MTB is great the next day.  I made about 10 “MTB’s” with the ingredients I had available. There were several left over that I put in the cooler.  The next day three of the teenagers that I was camping with wanted a burrito.  I told them, “Sure, enjoy the leftovers.”  They were enjoying them, cold, more than I anticipated. I thought they might take a few bites then throw them away. Instead they ate the whole thing. Before they were completely devoured I requested a bite of this cold burrito wonder. Much to my amazement this pocket full tasty goodness was just as appealing cold the following day as it was warm the day before! What a pleasant surprise!

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About Me

Beth

Beth

Full of spirit and imagination, I am setting off on a journey to explore and discover the great outdoors. As a mother of two, I have spent many years nurturing my children’s exploration of the world, it is now my turn to quench my curiosities that call to me and lead me forward. Living in a metropolitan area all of my life has made it difficult to truly nurture this desire. I have decided bringing more of natural world into my everyday life a goal of mine. With limited time and natural resources it will take work to put this Mother back in Nature, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

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